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Hundreds of Muslims Die During Traditional Mass Pilgrimage to Mecca

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More than 550 Muslims died during the Hajj — a ritual pilgrimage to Mecca.

At least 323 of the casualties were Egyptians, with most of those deaths linked to the heat, two Egyptian diplomats told Agence-France Presse, which reported those numbers Tuesday.

“All of them [the Egyptians] died because of heat” except for one fatally injured in a crowd crush, one diplomat said.

According to an AFP estimate, 577 people had died as of Tuesday. Wednesday was the final day of the Hajj.

The BBC noted that many pilgrims had been reported as missing.

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At least 60 Jordanians died, the diplomats said, according to AFP. Jordan had said Tuesday that 41 Jordanian pilgrims died.

A medic and a second official — both of whom were not named — said they believed about 600 bodies were at a morgue in Mecca, according to The Associated Press.

Other unconfirmed and unofficial reports estimated that the death toll was as high as 900.

On Thursday, AFP quoted an Egyptian diplomat as saying the number of Egyptian dead had risen to over 600. The numbers could not be confirmed.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that the dead also included 138 people from Indonesia and 35 from Tunisia.

It noted that at one point in the Hajj, the temperature reached 125 degrees.

“The numbers were huge. … We could not breathe,” said Ahmad Bahaa, 37, an engineer from Egypt who works in Saudi Arabia.

“Ambulances were moving nonstop, collecting people left and right,” Bahaa said.

“People were sleeping on the sidewalks. … I saw someone right in front of our tent who collapsed and could not even move,” he said.

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AFP reported that as of Sunday, Saudi officials said more than 2,000 of the 1.8 million people who came to Mecca for the Hajj had suffered heat stress.

The official Saudi Press Agency said a virtual hospital “provided virtual consultations to over 5,800 pilgrims, primarily for heat-related illnesses, enabling prompt intervention and mitigating the potential for a surge in cases.”

On Tuesday, Saudi Health Minister Fahd al-Jalajel issued a statement expressing “particular satisfaction with the fact that there were no outbreaks or other public health threats despite the significant number of pilgrims and the challenges posed by high temperatures,” according to The New York Times.

Saudi officials, who did not announce a death toll,  said “advanced cooling systems” and the “consistent availability” of water for pilgrims ensured a “smooth and secure hajj for all.”


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Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack can be reached at jackwritings1@gmail.com.
Location
New York City
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Foreign Policy, Military & Defense Issues




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